For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? Luke 9:25
Alas! It is our wisdom to be careful lest we are deceived in so great a business as our salvation. There is no harm to be careful, since presumption, carelessness, and neglect may betray us to misery and despair. The devil wins many souls by silencing their reason. The noise of worldly business drowns out the voice of reason. Withdraw yourself just one hour to consider seriously the end of your life. While you walk alone, or are awake in the night, remember soberly that God is present, time is hasting to an end, and judgment is at hand when you must give account of all your hours. Do not allow the devil to divert you from these serious considerations by pleasures or worldly business. If the devil can but take you up a while, with one pleasure a day, and another business another day, and keep you from the work that you came into the world for, till your time is gone, you will slip unaware into damnation, and the devil has his desire and that which he aimed at; he has won the day, and you are lost forever. When you set a limit to your folly, and determine to do it only for a little until this business is over, the devil will provide a fresh one for you until the time is gone. Resolve, therefore, that whatever company, pleasure, or business would divert you, that you will not be fooled out of your salvation. If company plead an interest in you, ask if it is better company than the Spirit of God; if pleasure would detain you, inquire whether it is more pure and durable pleasure than you will have in heaven; if business pretend necessity, inquire whether it is a greater business than to prepare your soul for judgment. If you are wise, let stand all other things, and do what is first in importance.
Dr. Packer has had a long-standing passion for the Puritans. Their understanding of God and His ways with man has largely formed his own spirituality and theological outlook. In A Quest for Godliness, the esteemed author of Knowing God and a dozen other books shares with his readers the rich world of Puritanism that has been so influential in his own life.
Dr. Packer masterfully uncovers the hidden treasures of Puritan life and thought. With crystalline clarity he reveals the depth and breadth of Puritan spiritual life, contrasting it with the superficiality and deadness of modern Western Christianity.
Drawing on a lifetime of study, Dr. Packer takes the reader on a survey of the lives and teachings of great Puritan leaders such as John Owen, Richard Baxter, and Jonathan Edwards. He offers a close look at such subjects as the Puritan view of the Bible, spiritual gifts, the Sabbath, worship, social action, and the family. He concludes that a main difference between the Puritans and ourselves is spiritual maturity–the Puritans had it; we don’t.
In a time of failing vision and decaying values, this powerful portrait of Puritans is a beacon of hope that calls us to radical commitment and action when both are desperately needed.
A Quest for Godliness is a profoundly moving and challenging exploration of Puritan life and thought in a beautifully written book. Here is J. I. Packer at his very best.